Jay T. Rock grew up in a secular home within a multi-religious extended family. His first intentional foray into interreligious relations came when helping to organize a hunger walk in Stokcton, CA, in 1976, while in congregational ministry with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He went on to follow a calling to understand and build interfaith relationships. He served as the Coordinator for Interfaith Relations for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from 2003-2010. From 1987 to 2003 he directed the Interfaith Relations Office of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and from 1980-87, was on the educational staff of Church World Service.
Jay’s approach builds on the perspective of the History and Phenomenology of Religions (Ph.D, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, 1986), broadened in heart and imagination by what he has learned from–and with–Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Native Americans, primarily in North America. His way of engaging in this work has also been shaped by short-term visits and relationship-building projects in the Southern Caribbean, Israel/Palestine, Malawi, South Africa, Indonesia, and Europe, and by many conversations sponsored by the World Council of Churches, especially the multi-religious Thinking Together project. Now formally “retired”, Jay continues to be involved in inter-religious relationships and dialogues, and loves to teach and to share what he has learned. He lives in Sarasota, FL, with his wife of 50 years, writer Judith Rock.